Wednesday, June 22, 2016

All Creatures of Our God and King

Eula has been a member of the choir for 60 years.  Just before our Christmas cantata Eula gave a speech about the importance of choir in her life.  There wasn't a dry eye in the room.  Eula is great, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  

A few months ago Eula led us in worship by singing a solo.  Ordinarily I am seated in a pulpit chair, but that day I sat in the front pew.  The congregation was quiet and engaged until all of a sudden the baptismal curtain just behind Eula began to tremble rather violently.  

I had no time to entertain the thought "Is Jesus back?" because I soon saw a furry paw reach out from the side of the curtain.  

JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.

Since I am the pastor, I feel like it's my duty to take care of business when something goes awry.  FYI:  I am not really an animal person.  I serve a congregation of farmers and hunters and they know this about me.  Once I was told "Dressing a buck is not your spiritual gift."  I am not one with nature in general.  LOVE nature from afar.  Up close?  No.

Anyway, there's a furry paw in front of me and I'm the pastor and I've got to respond to this situation.  Raccoon, large rat, possum, chicken (furry ones exist I've learned)--who or whatever you are, Pastor Katie is at the ready.

But before I had time to guess what I'd encounter at our River Jordan the neighborhood cat sauntered (no other way to describe it) out from behind the curtain and onto the baptismal ledge--which had then become a literal catwalk.

I nearly died of hysteria. 

I am ill prepared to be serious in such moments, but my better instincts took over. I had a job to do:  Get the cat out of the sanctuary without disturbing the special music. Cat was in full view of the entire church and she was strutting as if this was her one shining moment.  Who could blame her?  Repeat:  She was on a CATWALK.

See baptismal curtain, catwalk, pulpit chairs, and side exit.  Photo credit:  Elizabeth Liebermann.

I devised a plan:  Stealthily dart behind Eula to retrieve the cat--but oh-so-carefully because I was wearing a dress.  There is only so much darting one can achieve in a dress.  I am also short and the big pulpit chairs were in my way--so I would need to climb them without bending over and also lovingly coax a cat down from her baptistery catwalk.  

All of my studies prepared me for this moment. 

My plan mostly worked except the cat did NOT want to leave, so she meowed and tried to scratch me.  I open the side door (which is approximately wide enough to accommodate a Barbie), accidentally slammed it, and the congregation thinks I have fallen and can't get up--all while praises to Jesus are sung.  Shout out to Eula and Janice (pianist) who sang and played the whole time.

I waited until Eula finished singing to reappear from the Barbie side exit to explain what happened.  The congregation erupted in laughter including Eula.  When Eula later told her daughter, Jennifer, what happened, Jennifer bought Eula a cat purse.  A few weeks later the neighborhood cat was seemingly waiting for her BFF Eula after choir practice and voila we snapped this photo. 


Wonderful Eula pictured with our neighborhood cat and her new purse.  Photo credit:  Angela Grandstaff.
Eula, thank you for loving choir, loving cats, and being a great sport!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Handbellz

John Cashion, Music Minister Extraordinaire, introduced the 4th graders of my home church to hand bells.  I'm so glad he did!  John is an excellent teacher and a lot of fun.  Thank you, John! (Thank you also for being patient as I gingerly removed NKOTB buttons to prevent bell clanking.)

You can imagine my joy when I found two octaves of hand bells at Scottsville Baptist!  In November I mentioned starting a hand bell choir to Hallie, our Coordinator of Family Ministries. Her response: "I'm in.  Let's do it.  Can we be ready for Christmas?"  Hallie's enthusiasm = on point. 

We invited the church to join in and as it turned out a hand bell all-star was in our midst!  Michael, our leader, has years of experience and is well-versed in the hand bell lexicon.  We learned nuances like Shelley ringing, damping, and shaking.  Others joined us and we now have a bonafide hand bell choir, or as I like to call us:  Handbellz. 

Handbellz lead in worship on Pentecost. 
 Back (L to R):  Matt Earman, Hallie Earman. Front (L to R):  Lisa Turner, Victoria Melander, Katie McKown, Matt Stone, Stephanie Stone, Erin Goolsby.  Leader: Michael Goolsby
 


Erin is working on Handbellz t-shirt.  Someone wondered "Where would we wear a Handbellz t-shirt?"  The better question is "Where wouldn't we wear a Handbellz t-shirt?" We're having fun.

We are players of all ages comprised mostly of millennials.  Who would've guessed that?  I love it. We are helping one another learn and look forward to playing more often.  It's a privilege to help lead in worship. 


Handbellz Rehearsal.
Perhaps you're wondering "Are there people playing in the baptistery?"
The answer is yes. Shout out bass clef. 

Shout out also to my Washington Nationals Coffee Mug
 
Handbellz:  Behind the Music. 
Stephanie (L) and Hallie (R) prepare the foam.
 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Worship Guide for a Snowy Sunday

Hello Scottsville Baptist Church!  Since we will not be gathering for Sunday worship at 690 Harrison Street, I wanted to provide you a worship guide to use at your home.  Feel free to tweak!

The peace of God be with you! 

Opening Prayer:  Invite everyone gathered to say a sentence prayer giving thanks and praise to God

Hymn:  Sing a verse of a favorite hymn or praise song

Scripture Reading:  Luke 5:1-11 (our passage for next Sunday)  

Reflection Questions and Thoughts
For Children:  Tell about a time you went fishing.  How did you catch fish?  How did Jesus tell Peter to catch fish?  How many fish were caught when Jesus was in the boat?  In verse 10 what did Jesus tell Peter he would catch?  Why did Jesus tell Peter he would fish for people?

For Adults:  What do we learn about Peter in this passage?  What do we learn about Jesus?  How does this story intersect with your life?  Consider how God might be calling you to follow.

Hymn:  Listen to a favorite hymn or praise song.
For Children:  Color the story while listening.  Print out a coloring page here (adults can color too!)

Joys and Concerns:  Share prayer requests and praises.  Pray for our church.

Here we are!  Photo Credit:  Elizabeth Liebermann

And finally...enjoy table fellowship!  Bonus points for those who prepare fish for lunch or dinner (fish sticks count!).

See you soon!
 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Your Tears Are Welcome Here

When people cry in Sunday School, worship, my office, or anywhere else I often say "Your tears are welcome here."  Crying is part of life, and we tear up for all sorts of reasons. It is natural the church collects so many.

Today I cried mid-sermon.  I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened.  A year ago I would have been embarrassed by my tears, but not so much any more.  Baptisms, funerals, professions of faith, silent suffering, strife in the world, sickness, prayers, weddings, worries, the return of a prodigal--these moments are the creators of waterworks, happy and sad.

I could feel a lump welling in my throat for a minute or two, but one sentence in particular was the culprit: "Jesus healed the untouchable with a touch."  That Jesus heals with what we simultaneously fear and hope for is grace.

But to be fair I think these tears had been welling all week.

Dedicating a baby to the Lord will do it.



Spending a week with Romans 8 will do it.  

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Watching a gaggle of children in biblical garb will do it.  


Making Advent wreaths with the church will do it. 



Sharing table fellowship with Buildings and Grounds will do it.  Praying with Karen will do it. Talking to our missionaries in Arizona will do it.  You never know when tears will surprise you.

So whether you are crying tears of celebration, mourning, doubt, gratitude, or conviction this season, know you have a place at Scottsville Baptist. Your tears are welcome here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All of My Life I Have Attended Scottsville Baptist

(Note:  A version of this testimony was shared by Pat Pitts at the 175th Anniversary program.)

All of my life I have attended Scottsville Baptist Church.  Church and Scottsville Baptist are synonymous with me.  On Easter Sunday, 1955, along with two friends, one of whom is here today, I walked down the aisle to be received by Pastor John Elliott and officially joined the church and gave my life to Christ.

Pat singing in the children's choir (Pat is in the second row on the far right)

One Sunday morning many years ago we had a confrontational episode in Sunday School.  It was haunting and worrying me greatly until the worship service as I waited in the back to help take up the offering I literally felt God's presence say to me "Don't worry, it's all going to be alright."  Truly a burden was lifted from me...

Pat (in yellow) and his VBS class (2015)

I have seen God at work through our former pastors and I now see and feel God's presence in our pastor and the wonderful things that are happening in our Scottsville Baptist Church.  I feel certain we can have another 175 years of successful and meaningful ministry in our wonderful, little town. 

Pat and his wife Baxter enjoy the choir party.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"It is a very exciting time to be a member of Scottsville Baptist..."

Matthew and Hallie on Pentecost
After searching for a local church, God led my husband and I to Scottsville Baptist. From our first visit, we felt at home. Scottsville Baptist welcomed us with open arms. A lot has happened for my family since joining almost two years ago. We bought our first home days after our son was born. From the minute we shared we were expecting the entire church has showed us so much love and anticipation for our sweet bundle of joy. Our little Matthew could not have better church grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles! Our church family jumped right in to help us prepare to move; it would have taken me weeks to do all of the cleaning that these ladies and Alex did in just one day. I do think they may have been motivated by hopes of seeing our newborn. :) 

Matthew Jr. and Hallie at our yard sale
It is a very exciting time to be a member of Scottsville Baptist; the church is growing and is busy. Not only have our members been busy using their various gifts to prepare for the celebration today, but they have donated their time and unused items to a yard sale to benefit missions and most recently they have delivered food to a group of teenagers working in the area. From picnics to coffee dates to baby showers, every member has embraced table fellowship which I believe has made Scottsville Baptist a stronger and closer community. 
Hallie organized a kickball game.  It was amazing.
                                  
I am so thankful for the friendships I have formed and the relationships that my son will have here.

Scottsville Baptist has been an incredible blessing to me and my family.

(Note:  This is a version of a testimony shared by Hallie Earman at our 175th anniversary.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Whistling While They Work

This morning I bumped into someone new to our church.  She introduced me to a friend and said, "This is my pastor, Katie" and then "Katie, I was just telling my friend about the church!"  I love when people are excited about church.

When I returned to the church, I was headed for my office but took a detour downstairs.  Two young moms were happily painting cabinets in the nursery.  I walked up the stairwell where bulletin boards had been covered with fresh, flashy fabric.  In the kitchen a daughter and father were unloading zucchinis for our weekly food distribution.  I then peeked inside a Sunday School classroom to see piles of jackets for a coat drive. When I finally made it to my office I was grinning from ear to ear.  It wasn't even noon and my day was made.

Yesterday wasn't too shabby either.  INSPIRATION ALERT:  Our oldest member (95!) insisted on scrubbing floors to help prepare for our 175th anniversary.

(Warning: This picture may make you weep with joy.)

Awesome.
Our church is in a vibrant season of ministry.  I am grateful.